The original jurisdiction of the circuit courts extends to all cases both civil and criminal not exclusively conferred upon some other court, and they have appellate jurisdiction in all suits and actions begun in the lower courts.
At the close of the colonial era there were a court of chancery, a supreme court, circuit courts and courts of oyer and terminer which were held in the several counties by the justices of the supreme court, a court of common pleas and a court of sessions in each county, and courts held by justices of the peace in the several towns.
Ottumwa is the headquarters of the Ottumwa Division of the Southern Federal Judicial District of Iowa, and terms of United States District and Circuit courts are held there.
The county and the township are the units of the rural, the city and the village the units of the urban local The provision for circuit courts was first made in the constitution by an amendment of 1883.
Appeals from the circuit courts can be made to the provincial court; and from the provincial court appeals lie to the appellate division of the Supreme Court of South Africa, sitting at Bloemfontein.
The judges also hold circuit courts at Durban and other places.
The former Supreme, High and Circuit Courts of the several colonies then became provincial and local divisions of the Supreme Court of South Africa, which consists of two divisions, namely the Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.
The court has exclusive original jurisdiction in equity cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds fifty dollars, concurrent jurisdiction with the county court in such matters as the administration of estates, the appointment and removal of guardians, and concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts in proceedings for divorce.
The administration of justice is entrusted to a supreme court, a continually increasing number of circuit courts (thirty-eight in 1909), one probate court in each county, and not exceeding four justices of the peace in each township. The supreme court is composed of one chief justice and seven associate justices, all elected for a term of ten years, not more than two retiring every two years; it holds four sessions annually, exercises a general control over the inferior courts, may issue, hear and determine any of the more important writs, and has appellate jurisdiction only in all other important cases.
The circuit courts have original jurisdiction of all actions and causes, both at law and in equity and such appellate jurisdiction as may be conferred by law.